Lynyrd Skynyrd will headline MGK’s Big Gig along with ZZ Top at Freedom Mortgage Pavilion in Camden, NJ on September 17, 2023.

A fatal plane crash in 1977 tragically killed three members of Lynyrd Skynyrd and six people total. However, their influence as one of the giants of southern rock persists.

Hits like “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Free Bird,” and “Simple Man” play constantly nearly 50 years after their release.

Their easily identifiable connection with southern culture, their talent as one of the best classic rock bands of all time, and even a bizarre trend of yelling about “Free Bird” have kept the band relevant in the minds of Rock & Roll fans.

It has also opened the door for excellent references in pop culture since the 1990s. “Sweet Home Alabama” alone has played in 22 movies and tv shows.

Whether you look to the big screen or to big-time television, to comedy or drama or even the horror genre, you’ll find Lynyrd Skynyrd references everywhere.

  • Happy Gilmore (1996)

    Happy Gilmore opens with the smooth sound of “Tuesday’s Gone” playing during Happy’s backstory. The melody also plays during the closing credits.

    Adam Sandler comedies of the 1990s and early 2000s never fell short in classic rock scenes. From the main character’s love for Styx in Big Daddy to a hilarious scene featuring “Space Oddity” in Mr. Deeds, Sandler was never shy about his appreciation for some of the all-time greats.

  • Blow (2001)

    The intensity of Blow reaches great heights throughout the movie. Johnny Depp’s character George Jung experiences drug issues leading up to the birth of his child in one of the most personal and humanizing scenes. “That Smell” by Lynyrd Skynyrd plays in the background during the montage.

  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

    Will Ferrell nailed the role of Ricky Bobby, a goofy southern racecar driver in Talladega Nights. The movie includes a great scene with “Gimme Three Steps” and an unforgettable…religious?… reference by Cal Naughton Jr. (played by John C. Reilly).

    “I like to picture Jesus like with giant Eagles wings singing lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with like an angel band.”

  • Joe Dirt (2001)

    The light sound of “Sweet Home Alabama” matched the surprisingly lighthearted role David Spade played in “Joe Dirt.”

  • 8 Mile (2002)

    A movie about rap music set in Detroit starring Eminem wasn’t exactly likely to feature a scene with “Sweet Home Alabama,” but 8 Mile gave you a little twist of southern rock.

  • Dazed and Confused (1993)

    Dazed and Confused captured the spirit of the 1970s with a setting on the last day of school at a Texas high school in 1976. Memorable scenes with “Sweet Emotion, “Free Ride,” and many others added a great element of 1970s Rock & Roll.

    The late night party at the town moon tower ends with “Tuesday’s Gone” creating the perfect mood for a nightcap.

  • That '70s Show (1998-2006)

    Speaking of modern depictions of the 1970s, That ’70s Show used classic rock as a major cultural element of the time period. The most memorable references were Hyde’s Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd t-shirts.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd also worked their way in with a fair share of references.

    • “Prom Night” (Season 1, Episode 19): Eric and Donna slow dance to “Free Bird” at their high school prom.
    • “Angie” (Season 7, Episode 8): Kelso couldn’t resist the famous myth: “I heard when you first meet them, if you just yell ‘Free Bird’ really loud, they’ll start playing it.”
    • “Everybody Loves Casey” (Season 4, Episode 26): Eric complains about Donna’s new boyfriend and his “smelly, tattooed, Molly Hatchet-loving friends” while his group of friends is a bunch of “good, clean, Lynyrd Skynyrd-loving Americans.”
  • Con Air (1997)

    “Define irony: a bunch of idiots dancing on a plane made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.”

  • Forrest Gump (1994)

    Forrest Gump included scenes from some of the most famous events of the 20th century AND scenes with the two most popular songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

    “Free Bird” is featured in a dramatic scene when Jenny nearly suffers a fatal accident. Of course, “Sweet Home Alabama” was going to play in a movie set primarily in Alabama.


  • Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

    If 22 references weren’t enough, “Sweet Home Alabama” became a movie title in 2002. In the movie, Reese Witherspoon’s character leaves a fancy job in New York City to visit her hometown in rural Alabama.

    Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most recognizable song plays twice during the movie, including the final scene when the two main characters slow dance in a local dive bar in an unexpected wedding celebration.

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